Despite Wajda's denials, it's hard to resist the superficial comparison between Robespierre and Danton, Jaruzelski and Lech Walesa. Granted there are huge distinctions in ideology, but on the level of political personalities, Robespierre's ruthless dedication to the Revolution and Danton's man-of-the-people charisma carry potent contemporary resonance. Maybe history does repeat itself, and to some extent Wajda does too, here fleshing-out a costume drama with the kind of historical details that work in favour of the film's meaning rather than just prettifying it. OK, it's a message movie with a predictable punchline, but as Depardieu cries on the scaffold: 'Show them my head. It will be worth it'. It is.
Cast and crew